These columns might make you dumb

By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer

For seven years now, we have published a column enititled “From the Rose Law Group Growlery,”which delves into pet peeves, daily irritants and maddening situations encountered in daily life. (A growlery is a place to retreat to, alone, when ill-humored.)

I came across information about how “exposure to nonstop negativity actually impairs brain function.” We hope our gripe column doesn’t fall into that category, but in case it could be harmful to someone’s health, we provide some suggestions free of charge, with the help of Trevor Blake, a serial entrepreneur and author of “Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life.”

In the book, he describes how neuroscientists have learned to measure brain activity when faced with various stimuli, including a long gripe session.

“The brain works more like a muscle than we thought,” Blake says. “So if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well.”

We certainly don’t intend that to happen.

Even worse, Blake says, being exposed to too much complaining can actually make you dumb. Research shows that exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity (including viewing stupid stuff on TV, which we often gripe about) actually peels away the part of the brain needed for problem solving — turning your brain to “mush,” Blake said.

He says complainers typically don’t want a solution, and your brain will thank you if you get yourself away from the complainer, if you can.

Blake’s next suggestion might bring about a new twist to this column: If you can’t easily walk away, ask the complainer to fix the problem.

This is where you come in. In the future when you read our Growler column please go to the comment box at the bottom of the article and offer a solution to the complaint. This way, together, we can make a more perfect world.

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February 2018